IoS letters, emails & online postings (9 June 2013)


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The Independent Online

It is all very well for John Rentoul to state that "Miliband dare not duck an EU referendum" (2 June), but there are palpable reasons why all serious parties should oppose one. In the midst of the politicking, no one appears to focus on the evident truth that no referendum ever answers the question put.

More than anything the voters are influenced by their current view of the government in office. The narrow loss of the May 2005 referendum in France was shown to be down to the low standing of the Chirac government, rather than to a rejection of the European constitution.

Voters always say they want a referendum but they do not vote in them. Every British referendum has had a lower turnout than at the corresponding general election. The risk is the further undermining of parliamentary democracy. It is salutary that Hitler held no election after coming into office in 1933 but governed by plebiscite.

Michael Meadowcroft


Why do we need lobbyists at all? ("Lobbying scandal grows as peers are snared", 2 June). Their very existence suggests that, for money, they can open doors to the corridors of power that are closed to the ordinary citizen.

But any individual or organisation has access to Parliament. They can write to their MP or attend their surgery, and they can also write to the appropriate minister or secretary of state to present their case.

Malcolm Morrison

Swindon, Wiltshire

A register of lobbyists is not nearly enough for the arms trade. Given the financing of relentless lobbying by obscenely wealthy arms makers, there must be a register of every meeting between cabinet ministers and arms lobbyists. And the Government must commit to the same number of meetings with representatives of the millions of citizens who object to their wealth being spent supporting the merchants of death. Vince Cable should be held to account for the appalling bias of his exports department.

Jim McCluskey

Twickenham, Middlesex

Several years ago I persuaded my husband not to cut the lawn until the end of July ("Let our verges run wild", 2 June). Now, beginning with snowdrops, our glorious garden progresses through exquisite, ghostly crocii, daffodils, fritillaries, primroses, cowslips, bluebells, speedwells, forget-me-nots, violets, viper's bugloss, common daisies and sun-gold dandelions to, last week, a riot of buttercups, ragged robin, fraises des bois and ox-eye daisies. The ragwort (with its cinnabar moth caterpillars) will surely follow. As will delicious, tiny strawberries. All of you who think nothing beats a tidy lawn, consider what you're missing!

Sara Neill

Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Alan Mitcham blames "farming practices" for the loss of habitat, but it is overpopulation that is at fault and the resulting increase in cars on the road (Letters, 2 June). To those who want the right to have more and more children, I say, what about my right to walk in the countryside, and what about the rights of tigers and polar bears to have a home?

Sue Crossley

Via email

The Vatican has collected so many artefacts and paintings over the centuries, and it is still willing to pay vast sums for contemporary art ("Vatican to pour millions into new churches", 2 June). This is exactly how the Catholic Church lost its way; it became a financial institution instead of a religious one. Spirituality has nothing to do with fancy cathedrals and financial wealth, and, if he did exist, Jesus was perfectly clear on that.

Emilie Lamplough

Trowbridge, Wiltshire

Earlier this year, Didcot power station, which covered 300 acres, and provided power for two million homes, was closed ("Clean power is good...", 2 June). What acreage would be required for a wind farm of similar output? Is there any way excess output can be stored, ready for when there is no wind, or demand is high? Or should we stop wasting money on green-lobby ideas and put it into nuclear power? Sixty years ago, we were leaders in this technology; now we are a long way behind and will have to buy it in.

Adam Abbott

Swindon, Wiltshire

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